If you don’t like the story or the person, excuse yourself and move on. You’ve the right and freedom to say “No” to a conversation.
Why do we have two ears and one mouth?
We all struggle one way or the other to listen to people actively. I get paid to listen to people, but sometimes I can be distracted by silly things such as unexpected sound or writing materials popping out during a conversation.
As a good listener, you can help yourself, and others grow.
We don’t have to be a perfect listener but learn how to put ourselves aside for a few minutes while talking with friends or family members. This is difficult because we are human beings, and sometimes we can be selfish.
Don’t feel guilty; self-interest is the queen. But try for once to shut up and listen for a second without interrupting your spouse or a friend.
Our two ears can help us grow — self-respect.
Do you talk with friends and use your phone at the same time?
I have no problem putting aside distractions and listening to people who pay for my listening ears, but sometimes carry on with my distractors while conversing with my partner.
Now, I make a conscious effort to put other things aside and listen to my family members until they end the conversation. If I am busy or choose not to be in a conversation, I’ll excuse myself.
Drop your phone, turn away from the TV, and suspend your wandering thought. If you’re busy, say so.
I don’t listen to people all the time, including my family members. I’ll say to them, “I am busy right now, or can we talk another time. Thanks for understanding.”
I think listening means showing respect for oneself and others.
Don’t Wait to Reply or Be An Investigator:
Our two ears can help us grow — self-reflection.
I can tell when people wait for me to finish a sentence or a phase before they reply. And I do feel shut down when people ask me a lot of questions within a second of a conversation.
I believe you know people like this. Questions are okay, but they can also shut down a conversation. Be sure to listen more.
I’ll nickname one of my church sisters a prosecutor. I’ll call her Kat. Our conversation many years ago went like this:
Kat: “How was your weekend?”
Me: Wonderful, my daughter took me to a Broadway show…!
Kat: she cut me off. “She took you to a Broadway show! Who pays for the tickets?”
Kat: “ You paid for the tickets!”
Me: “She bought the tickets…”
Kat: She cut me off. “You let her paid for you! She is a college student. Where did she get the money? It must be a lot of money. Is she working…” She went overboard!
If you cannot listen to your partner for a second, move on with your life. I do this all the time in the supermarket unless the person is a senior citizen. I try my best to listen to a senior citizen’s small talk, which I hate.
Often, senior citizens in the supermarket will briefly seek humans contact, not necessarily they want a long conversation with others.
Excuse yourself and move on with your life if you do not want to be in a conversation.
Or you can choose to help the person and listen for a few minutes. How? Look for one thing you like in the person and focus on that. You never know; you may be the only person they have to talk with in the last day or weeks.
Don’t Give Solutions:
Our two ears can help us grow — inspire and empower ourselves and others.
Most people want a listener, not your solution. I provide a listening service, which is the highest paying service in my practice. Why the listening service? Most of my clients need a listener because their family members and friends choose not to listen to them.
Our family members are often experts in our business, and sometimes they choose not to listen to us.
A few months ago, my daughter called me about the furniture she wanted to purchase. She tried to explain it and all that stuff. I listened as she was talking, and without warning, she ended the conversation and said, “Mom, I got it.” I replied, “Yep, have a great day.”
My daughter likes to ask for my opinions on things, and I enjoy listening to her. We are two women with a strong point of view. We used to fight tooth and nail when she was in high school. Once, it was a Nigerian Civil War that ended in the best outcome — powerful lessons.
Now, two independent thinkers locked heads together, listening, accepting, and understanding each other.
Choose to listen to understand and not be an expert in other people’s life. This may not be an easy task with your family members because you want the ‘best” for them but try.
Listen most of the time, and follow the story. Then guide your child or a friend to own his problem. Ask what he thought about the problem, what he learned, and guide him to focus on a solution. The saying goes, it is better to give a net, not a fish. Or, for a chronic problem, encourage your loved ones to seek professional help.
Don’t Continue Her Story:
Our two ears can help us grow — self-awareness.
Work on yourself and never continue your friend’s story. It is always tempting to continue another person’s story instead of celebrating it.
Have you ever been cut short of your joy by a friend? You are so excited that you got a new job. She came out of nowhere and narrated how excited she was with her pay increase, OMG!
Don’t do that. Hold your peace for another day. We all make this mistake, and it shows a lack of self-awareness. Have self-talk if this happens and learn from your mistake moving forward.
Your two ears can help you grow.
You have the power to control a conversation to help yourself and others. Be a good listener and choose to do one thing at a time with no replay of other peoples’ stories, and only be an expert on your own problem.
Help yourself grow.